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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Faces of the Week

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week. Above are GUY RITCHIE (main picture), with JIMMY PAGE, KATE MOSS, CHARLES KENNEDY and JOHN PEEL.

GUY RITCHIE

Guy Ritchie's latest movie, Revolver, has been panned by the critics. It seems that, currently, the director can do nothing right.

Poor Guy Ritchie. Two years ago, his reality TV show, Swag, ran into trouble when a cameraman got stabbed in the leg while filming a stunt that backfired.

Last year, a TV commercial he had directed got pulled in the US after he was accused of encouraging children to drive their parents' cars.

His wife broke several bones after falling off her horse, and the couple were roundly booed this week when they wouldn't sign autographs at the premiere of his latest film. Oh, and he even gets chucked out of his marital bed whenever he snores.

Guy and Madonna attending the premiere of Revolver in London's Leicester Square
Guy and Madonna attend the premiere of Revolver
Talking of his film, just some of the adjectives the critics have used to describe it are: risible, muddled, impenetrable, convoluted and bewildering.

It's not so much a turkey, according to the Daily Mail's Chris Tookey, more "a pea-brained ostrich that has forgotten to hide its head in the sand at the first sign of attack, and has chosen instead to insert its head all the way up its own firmament".

What makes it worse for Ritchie is that, according to those same critics, his last picture, Swept Away, a desert island romance starring his wife, Madonna, was as bad as it got. It went straight to video in this country.

Geezer chic

"There are two levels of bad," Observer film critic Jason Solomons told the BBC. "There's the so bad it's good because at least you can have a laugh-type bad. Swept Away was in this category. Then you have the bad when you have something that thinks it's good but isn't. That's Revolver. Watching it, you could hear the scraping of the bottom of the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels."

The last reference is, of course, to Ritchie's 1998 movie, set among London's gangland, which became the third-highest grossing British film of all time. It was feted for being fresh and funny. His follow-up, Snatch, was in similar vein.

Ritchie had created a modern British classic of "geezer chic" in which villains became "icons of cool", and its laddish humour chimed with the times.

Ritchie with Brad Pitt, star of Snatch
Ritchie with Brad Pitt, star of Snatch
Guy Ritchie was hot property, yet the curious mix of a privately educated middle-class director being fascinated by East-End hardmen did provoke scepticism, especially with his "mockney" accent.

Guy Ritchie's upbringing was anything but straightforward. He was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire in 1968 and was the product of more than one broken home.

His father was a successful advertising executive (who devised the Hamlet cigar ads), while his mother was a model. They lived in Fulham, west London.

His parents divorced when he was five and Guy went to live with his mother's new husband, Sir Michael Leighton, at his stately home, Loton Park, in Shropshire.

Videos

His mother divorced again when he was 12. Guy Ritchie was sent to various private schools. Dyslexia hindered his education and he attended some 10 schools in all, leaving with just a GCSE in Film Studies.

Today, he employs a private tutor to try to fill the gaps in his formal education.

In the 1980s Guy Ritchie claims he hung out with some real villains without ever becoming one himself. He got into film making via music videos, giving the draft of Lock Stock to producer friend, Matthew Vaughn, husband of Claudia Schiffer.

The Ritchies' pile, Ashcombe House in Wiltshire
The Ritchies' pile, Ashcombe House in Wiltshire
He was introduced to Madonna by Sting and his wife Trudie Styler. Now, Ritchie and Madge live the English country life for much of the year, in their own stately home in Wiltshire, together with their five-year-old son Rocco, and his stepdaughter Lourdes, aged eight.

It is here that Madonna had her horse-riding accident. The couple are devotees of the Kabbalah, which, he maintains, is not a religion but simply "an extension of the way most of us try and live our lives. It's just about being a decent person".

Its critics describe it as the latest lifestyle cult for the rich.

He does not pray or attend meetings, but contemplates the movement's ideas on life. Some have attributed to Kabbalah the obscure mention of numbers and references in Revolver. Ritchie denies this.

According to Jason Solomons, "Guy Ritchie is trying to grow as an artist; he's trying to say something about the world but he's shown that he's not very good at it, he's not a philosopher."

It's a bit early to write Ritchie's career off, as some have done. But after two successive critical flops, the director is at a crossroads. Or should that be a borderline? Cue a song.


JIMMY PAGE

The legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page, has been made an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro for his work with poor children there. He set up Casa Jimmy in the Brazilian city in 1997 after he had witnessed gang fights there. His organisation has since provided medical help, food, clothes and job training to more than 300 youths. 61-year-old Page said: "The greatest satisfaction is knowing that I am able to help someone who needs help."

KATE MOSS

It's been a bad week for supermodel Kate Moss. The willowy waif, and mother of a two-year-old, has watched as lucrative modelling contracts have been torn up around her ears. This follows tabloid pictures of her allegedly snorting cocaine. Ms Moss, who claims to have dumped her boyfriend and heroin addict, Pete Doherty, has issued a statement apologising for her actions and saying that she has begun taking steps to resolve her "personal issues".

CHARLES KENNEDY

Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy used his party conference speech this week to slap down rivals to his leadership. To huge applause from the floor, he declared: "I will lead this party into the next election." He described unnamed colleagues as being "so full of themselves" that they thought they could do a better job. Despite recently leading his party to its best general election result in 80 years, Kennedy has been criticised for being a lacklustre leader.

JOHN PEEL

A group of musicians including Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Peter Hook and Dave Gilmour have recorded a tribute single to the late DJ, John Peel. It's a cover version of Ever Fallen in Love by the Buzzcocks, one of Peel's favourite records. The song's author, Pete Shelley also appears on the single, the proceeds of which will go to Amnesty International, an organisation which Peel supported. Many of the artists featured owe their careers to Peel.

Compiled by BBC News Profiles Unit's Bob Chaundy


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